New Musical Theatre, New Audiences

Hello New Musical Theatre Green Room readers! My name is Nikki Shah, and I am one of the new bloggers for this fall. I am incredibly excited to be writing about one of my passions, and I’d like to start off by introducing myself and how I got to love new musical theatre.

One night, I was up late and decided I wanted new music. The first thing that came to mind was Drew Gasparini’s recent album I Could Use A Drink. I had heard a few songs from the album and liked them enough to buy the album. I didn’t listen to anything else for four months.

Watch this video on YouTube.

Kasie Gasparini performs “Two Little Lines” by Drew Gasparini. 

Once I started getting into his music, I felt stuck in the world of new musical theatre. The “related videos” feature of YouTube is a dark abyss that leads to wasted time and great musical discoveries; I kept discovering more and more music, artists, and shows. As a long time musical theatre fan, I had been familiar with a few songs and composers, but did not realize there was a whole world for up and coming artists. And I did not realize how quickly I would become invested into it.

There’s something about new musical theatre that distinguishes it from other types of musical theatre. Not to say it’s separate or a different genre, but it is undeniably a new style. As I started listening to it, I could tell there was a different aspect of it that I liked but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, I discovered Kerrigan & Lowdermilk’s The Unauthorized Biography of Samantha Brown.

I had heard of the show for years, but for some reason never listened to the music. But on one of my YouTube expeditions, I stumbled upon one of the songs, Freedom.

Watch this video on YouTube.

As performed by Meghann Fahy and Annaleigh Ashford. 

Loving the music and being a fan of the team’s other work, I immediately bought their album. Never had a score resonated so much with me and never had I connected so much to a character – Samantha Brown. She was youthful and ambitious, but still flawed. As a high school senior, I related to her struggles and the album soon became the soundtrack to the months leading up to my graduation.

This album, combined with multiple others, took over my life and I really could not listen to anything else for awhile. During this year-long “period of discovery,” I realized why new musical theatre was unique and why I fell in love with it. It’s real. It tells stories that are relatable to all ages. I felt connected to Samantha Brown because she was a teenager with a real story and real motives. The same theme reaches out to most new musical theatre, as well. Every character has a relatable story. Even the most far-fetched characters have a story that a person of all ages can relate to. And in a world where theatre is seen as fleeting, it’s important for writers to reach out to young people, as well as theatre’s usual demographic of middle aged adults. As a young person who is passionate about musical theatre, this is why I fell in love with the songs of new writers.

I am a student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, majoring in international business. While I was involved in musical theatre performance all through middle and high school, I am not continuing through college. I hope that with this blog, my passion for theatre will live on. I want to not only share with readers my thoughts about musical theatre and its future, but also be able to learn more about my passion through it. I look forward to this mutual discovery with you over the next few months!

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